Roar topple Gold Coast
Hyundai A-League Premiers Brisbane Roar have finished the regular season in style, recording a first-ever win against derby rivals Gold Coast United in a 4-0 demolition at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane Roar have made a triumphant return to Suncorp Stadium, turning in a brilliant performance to register their first ever win against the Gold Coast with an emphatic 4-0 thumping.
Playing in front of their season-high crowd of 20,381, the Roar played a sparkling brand of football, leading from the time Kosta Barbarouses netted in the third minute and never relinquishing their control of the match.
The Gold Coast were thoroughly outgunned on their way to their first ever loss against their neighbouring rivals, and will face a strong challenge to regroup before taking on the Melbourne Victory in a sudden-death final next weekend.
Man-of-the-Match Barbarouses and Brazilian sensation Henrique were electric up front for the Roar, but there were no weak links in the razor sharp performance.
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou said the result was befitting of the stellar performance and a reflection of his side's season-long domination of the A-League.
"I thought it was a fitting way (to end the season). We've been good all yaer - better than anyone else - and I think it was important to finish it off that way," he said.
"We spoke before the game about finishing in the right way and we certainly did."
"Even though they've played well all year, I think that was one of their better ones."
Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg was magnanimous in defeat, ceding all credit to 'the best team in the country'.
"The better team won. They played better football and proved why they are champions," he said.
"We did our best, but in the end we were just a part of the party… we were the opposition of the Harlem Globe Trotters today, and we'll cop it."
The minor premiers took just three minutes to start the show, with Barbarouses breaking his 2011 scoring drought, taking the a firm pass from Matt McKay on the edge of the 18-yard box, creating space and firing past Glen Moss with his non-preferred right-foot.
The opportunities continued to come thick and fast for the 20-year-old Kiwi import, and in the eighth minute he was in on goal for the third time, only for Kristian Rees to intervene with some desperate defending.
But it was Gold Coast who had the next meaningful opportunity, as Shane Smeltz held the ball up on the break, passing to Tahj Minniecon, who teed up Zenon Caravella for a driven shot, which Michael Theoklitos did well to parry.
Barbarouses continued to wreak havoc for the home-side, working hard off the ball and reaping the rewards, as his team mates continued their top-class distribution.
German star Thomas Broich appeared destined to put his name on the score sheet, but after breaking through to go one-on-one with Moss, he was crudely hacked down on the edge of the area by Steve Pantelidis, who was fortunate to only beshown a yellow for his challenge.
Ivan Franjic was the recipient of the Brisbane set piece, and he demanded a brilliant save from Moss with a scud-like strike from 24-yards out.
Moss was performing admirably under heavy fire, but he had no chance of stopping the next salvo from the Roar.
Broich made a trademark run to the left-hand edge of the box before firing in a speculative cross, which Erik Paartalu steamed onto and thrashed into the back of the net with a sensational left-foot volley.
United returned from the intermission showing greater purpose, and very nearly reduced the deficit when Shane Smeltz rattled the cross bar from a free kick 30-yards out and to the right of the goal.
Brisbane weren't about to let their control of the match slip, and following their slow start to the second stanza, Henrique reignited the attack with skilful drive deep into the visitors' half.
Caravella became the second United player to be booked when he brought Mitch Nichols down with a clumsy, sliding tackle. The Brisbane midfielder appeared in agony, and after making a brave attempt to stay on the field, he was forced to limp off minutes later.
Brisbane were forced into a reshuffle with the change, bringing Rocky Visconte onto the left wing and pushing Broich back into the midfield.
But the change of personnel did little to stifle Brisbane's cohesion, and in the 66th minute Henrique had the home-side's third goal, sealing the result with a composed right-foot strike from close range.
Reserve keeper Andrew Redmayne was brought on for his first minutes of the season in the 80th minute, with Michael Theoklitos receiving a rousing ovation as he took his early mark.
With time winding down, Matt McKay burst through the line before squaring up for Broich to hammer home an unmarked fourth.
Matt Smith had a chance to make it five, but Moss came to the rescue, parrying away the headed effort and allowing the visitors to limp to the final whistle without taking any further damage.
Brisbane Roar: Barbarouses 3, Paartalu 42, Gold Coast United: Crowd: 20,831